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CONTENTS OF No. LXXII.

ART.

I.

II.

III.

IV.

The Life of Mahomet. With Introductory Chapters
on the Original Sources for the Biography of
Mahomet, and on the Pre-Islamite History of
Arabia. By WILLIAM MUIR, Esq., Bengal Civil
Service. Four Volumes

PAGE

255

293

Letters from Italy and Switzerland. By FELIX MEN-
DELSSOHN BARTHOLDY. Translated from the Ger-
man by LADY WALLACE. Second Edition
Gedichte von Ernst Moritz Arndt. Letzte Ausgabe.
(The Poems of Ernst Moritz Arndt. Last Edition) 309
The History of Gibraltar, and of its Political Relation
to Events in Europe, from the Commencement of
the Moorish Dynasty in Spain to the Last Morocco
War. By CAPTAIN SAYER, Civil Magistrate at
Gibraltar

V. 1. The Religions before Christ. By ED. DE PRESSENSÉ.
Translated by L. CORKRAN.

VI.

2. Les Deux Théologies Nouvelles. Par J. F. ASTIÉ.
3. Etudes Critiques sur la Bible-Ancien Testament.
Par MICHEL NICOLAS.

4. Sermons.

Edition.

Par T. COLANI. Deuxième Recueil. 2me

5. Mélanges de Critique Religieuse. Par EDMOND

SCHERER.

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6. Essais de Critique Religieuse. Par A. REVILLE.
7. Du Protestantisme en France. Par SAM. VINCENT.
Nouvelle Edition avec une Introduction de M.
PRÉVOST PARADOL
English Metrical Homilies from MSS. of the Four-
teenth Century. With an Introduction and Notes,
by JOHN SMALL, M.A., Librarian, University,
Edinburgh

VII. 1. Des Hallucinations; ou, Histoire Raisonnée des
Apparitions, des Visions, des Songes, de l'Extase,
du Magnetisme, et du Somnambulisme. Par A.
BRIERRE DE BOISMONT.

2. Fiends, Ghosts, and Sprites; including an Account
of the Origin and Nature of Belief in the Super-
natural. By JOHN NETTEN RADCLIFFE

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321

338

370

387

THE BRITISH

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

OCTOBER 1, 1862.

ART. I.-The Life of Mahomet. With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet, and on the PreIslamite History of Arabia. By WILLIAM MUIR, Esq., Bengal Civil Service. Four Volumes. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1861.

THE poverty of our literature in reference to Mahomet and Mahometanism is so conspicuous and so inconvenient that we may well receive with gratitude Mr. Muir's very able endeavour to relieve it. With freedom from prejudice and independence of judgment, he combines an extensive and intimate knowledge of the most authentic sources of information, and, after several years of labour, has produced these volumes in the hope of contributing to the complete elucidation and final settlement of Mahomet's real character and claims. After a careful examination of them, and after comparing them with those of sundry of his predecessors and contemporaries, it appears to us that the author has abundant reason to be gratified with the success he has achieved. Most conscientiously prepared, and based on authorities whom the Moslems themselves appeal to as decisive, his work may be used with equal confidence both by the historian and the controversialist. We heartily commend it to every one who, on so important a subject, desires to have what, on the whole, is probably the best and completest book in any language, and shall avail ourselves of it and of other sources of information, in this paper, to present a few of the leading events of the Prophet's life, with a view to a brief illustration of his character and of the means and meaning of his

success.

Born at Mecca in the year 570, Mahomet was, like most

NO. LXXII.

8

Meccan children of good family, nursed by the Bedouins of the neighbouring desert. His father had died before he was born, and soon after his return from the desert in his sixth year, his mother succumbed to the grief and care of widowhood, and left her child to the care of his paternal grandfather. Scarcely two years had passed, when Abd al Muttalib, too, died, and the boy became the charge of an uncle, to whom the affectionate old man hopefully committed him. Abu Talib proved eminently worthy of his trust. He watched over his delicate and much-attached nephew with unfailing solicitude, and when he was twelve years of age, gave him a mount on his camel, and joined the caravan to Syria. Their journey extended to Bostra-perhaps further; and though it cannot well have been fraught with such appreciable religious and theological results as some of the biographers of the Prophet have supposed, it is only just to believe that it made impressions which had most important effects upon his subsequent life and character, which could never be forgotten, and which developed into consequences which could then be as little foreseen as they can now be retraced.

'He passed,' says Mr. Muir, 'near to Petra, Jerash, Ammon, and other ruinous sites of former mercantile grandeur; and the sight, no doubt, deeply imprinted upon his reflective mind the instability of earthly greatness. The wild story of the Valley of Hejer, with its lonely deserted habitations hewn out of the rock, and the tale of Divine vengeance against the cities of the plain, over which now rolled the billows of the Dead Sea, would excite apprehension and awe; while their strange and startling details, rendered more tragic by Jewish tradition and local legend, would win and charm the childish heart, ever yearning after the marvellous. On this journey, too, he passed through several Jewish settlements, and came in contact with the national profession of Christianity in Syria. Hitherto he had witnessed only the occasional and isolated exhibition of the faith: now he saw its rites in full and regular performance by a whole community; the national and the social customs founded upon Christianity; the churches with their crosses, images, or pictures, and other symbols of the faith; the ringing of bells; the frequent assemblages for worship. The reports, and possibly an actual glimpse, of the continually recurring ceremonial, effected, we may suppose, a deep impression upon him; and this impression would be rendered all the more practical and lasting by the sight of whole tribes, Arab like himself, converted to the same faith, and practising the same observances.'-Vol. i. pp. 33, 34.

Making due note of this journey into Syria, we are to think of the young Mahomet, after his return to Mecca, as engaged in not

Marries Khadija-His Personal Appearance.

257

very diligent and not very lucrative commerce, varied at intervals with the supposed effeminate and mean occupation of tending sheep, up to his twenty-fifth year. His character with his fellow citizens was that of a retiring and reflective young man of few business qualifications, with almost no talent for money-making, but singularly moral, and constant in observing the religious and other duties prescribed by the established Paganism. He was anything but the profligate scoundrel Dean Prideaux has described, and had even won for himself the byname, El Amin, or The Faithful.

At twenty-five the whole course of his life was changed. A wealthy and virtuous widow, largely engaged in trade, required a steward and superintendent for a caravan she was despatching to Syria, and the offer of the place being made to Mahomet the Faithful, was gladly accepted. He appears to have managed Khadija's business better than he had usually managed his own, and brought back to her, it is said, an unusually handsome profit. The next thing was that Khadija, though forty years old and very wealthy, wished to marry the poor young man, who had nothing but a comely person and a good character to recommend him. Their union proved a remarkably happy one. Khadija is reported to have availed herself but little of her husband's newly discovered business talents, while Mahomet was well content with the freedom from commonplace anxieties, and the command of ease and leisure, secured through his admirable wife. As the years glided by, they were blessed with a son, who lived but two years, with a daughter, then a second daughter, a third, and a fourth, and last another son. On each of these occasions, there was a sacrifice to the idols of Mecca of one or two kids, according as the child born was girl or boy. How far Mahomet concurred in these acts of piety in his wife we cannot tell. All we know is, that he did not in any way forbid them. Khadija meant well, no doubt, did what was usual, and in his then state of indecision and inquiry, Mahomet did not feel at liberty to interfere.

We pass thus rapidly over earlier events, because the interest of the Prophet's life does not properly commence till after his fortieth year. His personal appearance at about that age

thus described by Mr. Muir :

is

'Slightly above the middle size, his figure, though spare, was handsome and commanding, the chest broad and open, the bones and framework large, the joints well knit together. His neck was long and finely moulded. The head, unusually large, gave space for a broad and noble brow. The hair, thick, jet-black, and slightly curling, fell down over his ears. The eyebrows were

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